Author Topic: Cubs Draft 2020  (Read 2606 times)

Reb

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1772
Re: Cubs Draft 2020
« Reply #165 on: June 24, 2020, 03:20:17 pm »
Not the draft but BA piece on Cubs likely top international signing:

Meet Cristian Hernandez, The Cubs International Target Some Call 'Baby A-Rod'
By Josh Norris on June 24, 2020
   
One of the top players available in this year’s international class, Cristian Hernandez has earned plenty of accolades for a swing that has drawn comparisons with Manny Machado and an all-around game that reminds some of a young Alex Rodriguez.

Even so, Hernandez said his most memorable moment in baseball came not in the batter’s box, but on the mound.

Playing as a 12-year-old in a tournament in the Dominican Republic, Hernandez—who was a do-everything utility player back then—was on the mound late in a game when his coach gave him the hook and sent him to second base.

The pitcher who relieved Hernandez gave up the runs that eventually cost his team the game and its spot in the tournament. Years later, the moment still stings.

“That’s something I haven’t forgotten,” Hernandez said, with the help of a translator, “because it really hurt me a lot to lose that tournament.”

Hernandez’s pitching days are behind him now, and he is widely expected to sign a seven-figure deal with the Cubs once the international signing period opens. Normally, that would happen on July 2, but the coronavirus pandemic has shaken up everything in the sport. The international signing period is no exception. It has been pushed back to Jan. 15.

All Hernandez can do is wait and stay as ready as possible. He’s continuing to work out to the best of his abilities in the Dominican Republic and has gotten to a field as often as possible. Mostly, though, he’s trying to stay patient, which isn’t always easy.

“I’ve been staying in shape, working out at home and doing my exercise routines,” he said. “I do feel a little anxious waiting for some news on when the day I’m going to sign will be. I’m a little nervous and anxious because there’s so much unknown out there.”

The most talented Dominican shortstop in this year’s class, Hernandez will earn his bonus thanks to a combination of a powerful bat and a body that looks like it will add strength without forcing him to move off shortstop.

If the Cubs do officially sign him, Hernandez will join a deep and talented collection of middle infielders, from 2018 first-rounder Nico Hoerner (who made his big league debut at the end of 2019 after just 89 minor league games) to upstarts like Pedro Martinez, Rafael Morel, Fabian Pertuz and Aramis Ademan.

That list also includes Kevin Made, another shortstop from the Dominican Republic, whom the Cubs inked for $1 million last July.

Like many top prospects, Hernandez honed his game by playing against competition a level or two above his age group.

“It’s not the same to compete against players my own age than it is competing against players who are a level or two higher than me, players who are older and bigger and stronger,” Hernandez said. “Around 12 years old, I kind of rose to the level of the older guys, but when I was 10 and 11 years old I was already playing at the higher category.”

Hernandez’s mom got him into the game, and he’s been in love ever since. He didn’t play any other sports growing up, and he has had so much success on the diamond that he simply cannot recall the first time he hit a home run.

“From the minute I started playing, I became obsessed with it,” said Hernandez, who quickly began opening eyes. “Around 11 years old, I would hear it from my coaches and I could see that my tools and abilities were special.”

Obviously, other people began agreeing with that assessment. Just two players in this year’s international signing class are likely to command a larger signing bonus than Hernandez. Those players are Cuban outfielder Pedro Leon and fellow Dominican shortstop Armando Cruz, who are expected to ink with the Astros and Nationals.

Though other teams’ boards might differ somewhat, all would agree that Hernandez’s potential to hit for average and power while potentially remaining at shortstop makes him one of the top talents in the class.

“I think when we got our first look at him—and, to be honest, with the comps that are being thrown around—he looks like A-Rod,” said an international scouting director with a team that does not expect to sign Hernandez. “He’s a baby A-Rod.”

The swing that produces that power, the one that has reminded others of Machado, has come without much outside molding. He doesn’t have access to the technology—Rapsodo, TrackMan and the like—that he will once he signs and reports to an major league organization’s complex, so he’s just done what’s come naturally.

So far, it’s worked.

“My swing has been natural forever. I’ve always tried to make it better and work hard to gain strength and bat speed,” Hernandez said. “I’ve realized my swing is very similar to Machado’s. There’s a lot of comps between our swings, but that was never intentional.”

To earn even passing comparisons to Alex Rodriguez and Machado, one has to have power. Even at 15 years old, Hernandez’s thump is obvious.

“You can easily project (his power) to plus. The ball really comes off his bat well. It’s a clean, easy swing with power to the middle of the field,” the international director said. “His body, from the time we first started watching him, to when he committed, to the videos I’ve seen since then, he hasn’t gotten much bigger or stronger.

“That being said, just the way the ball comes off the bat and the way the swing path comes through the zone, it’s really easy to project power. I’d call it plus in the future.”
Hernandez’s body appearing to remain the same year over year could work in his favor. Too much extra muscle could push him to third base—where his power would still profile but his overall value would take a small hit.

If he can balance strength and litheness as he matures, Hernandez could quickly prove his most optimistic evaluators correct.

“The lack of projection in the body over a one-to-two-year window, it probably points to him sticking at shortstop. It probably points to him growing a couple of inches, adding on a little weight and looking like a middle infielder more than a third baseman,” the international director said. “I don’t have any concerns about him slowing down or being forced to move to third base.

“When we were initially projecting him, you obviously throw the A-Rod body comp on him, and you kind of expect him to grow into his body and get a little bit bigger, and that hasn’t happened yet.”

As soon as the international signing period could be delayed, it was delayed. And that expected outcome—that the period will open on Jan. 15—became official on June 15.

But when that day comes, Hernandez will be ready to prove he’s worthy of the hype

davep

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 14370
Re: Cubs Draft 2020
« Reply #166 on: June 24, 2020, 09:29:44 pm »
I love the pick of Howard, and I am glad they picked him.  But when I read the scouting reports on him, I get the feeling that you can change the position to center field and the name to Almora, they would fit the scouting reports on HIM when drafted.

Bennett

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5780
Re: Cubs Draft 2020
« Reply #167 on: June 25, 2020, 01:40:14 pm »
Jon Heyman  @JonHeyman  54m
Zac Veen, OF from Port Orange, Fla., signs with Rockies for $5M. Pick No. 9 overall.

At first I thought this was prank that Heyman fell for, but, no


Bennett

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5780
Re: Cubs Draft 2020
« Reply #168 on: June 25, 2020, 01:42:10 pm »
Jordan Bastian  @MLBastian  7m
The Cubs announce they that have signed Draft picks Burl Carraway (second round), Luke Little (fourth round) and Koen Moreno (fifth round). U-M outfielder Jordan Nwogu remains unsigned.
Informative Informative x 1 View List

Bennett

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5780
Re: Cubs Draft 2020
« Reply #169 on: June 25, 2020, 01:55:11 pm »
Jordan Bastian  @MLBastian  3m
Cubs bonus info for the three signings today:

Carraway: $1,050,000
Little: $492,700
Moreno: $900,000

That's under slot for Carraway, at slot for Little and above for Moreno.
Informative Informative x 1 View List

craig

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10235
Re: Cubs Draft 2020
« Reply #170 on: June 25, 2020, 02:23:40 pm »
Thanks, Bennett, that's really interesting.  I'd figured they'd all just go slot, and Moreno would just college the overage.  But that's a pretty big overslot bonus for him, that puts him only a little behind Carraway.  I hadn't actually anticipated that Carraway was going to go sub-slot.  Kind of glad the Cubs worked it that way. 

Cubs have taken a fair number of super-slot HS guys over the years.  I think they're maybe due for one or more of those to click.  Most really haven't...  If I round off Moreno to $1M, who are the other ≥$1M-ish superslot HS guys in recent years? 
2014:  Sands (bust), Steele (wildman, not looking to work out, although not done yet...), and Cease (best success, although in terms of Cubs value, all he got was a lesser sliver of mediocre Quintana)
2015:  Hudson (bust)
2017:  Estrada (nothing yet...)

I'd think maybe we're do to hit on one of these guys!  Moreno, why not you? 

craig

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10235
Re: Cubs Draft 2020
« Reply #171 on: June 25, 2020, 02:26:12 pm »
That doesn't quite exhaust their overage money.  Not sure Nwogu has much claim for any overslot, but *if* they wanted to, I think they could still superslot him by almost $200K, *if* they wanted to spend every allowable dollar. 

I wonder how the negotiation with carraway went?  Was he tops on their board, PLUS willing to sub-slot?  Win-win?  Or were there three other guys they called who they liked just as well, but they all wanted at least slot, or maybe more? 

Reb

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1772
Re: Cubs Draft 2020
« Reply #172 on: June 25, 2020, 04:45:19 pm »
Moreno’s bonus is closest to slot bonus #70 overall, which was a 2nd round compensation pick.

So, got some value there in 5th round.

chgojhawk

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 503
Re: Cubs Draft 2020
« Reply #173 on: June 26, 2020, 07:59:32 am »
Not sure if we paid him $1M but pretty sure we went over slot on DJ Wilson who I always felt was a waste even if we only gave him slot.

Unfortunately I can’t say I am a huge fan of the Ed Howard pick. I think he will play a nice SS but I question whether he will hit enough. Hope I’m wrong Bc he seems like a great kid.

craig

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10235
Re: Cubs Draft 2020
« Reply #174 on: June 26, 2020, 09:13:42 am »
Not sure if we paid him $1M but pretty sure we went over slot on DJ Wilson who I always felt was a waste even if we only gave him slot.

Unfortunately I can’t say I am a huge fan of the Ed Howard pick. I think he will play a nice SS but I question whether he will hit enough. Hope I’m wrong Bc he seems like a great kid.

Wilson was $1.3M.  To my recall, he's the only non-HS draftee who got the superslot million, at least since back in the Maples/Dunston era when spending was uncapped. 

Do you follow HS baseball in Chicago area enough to have seen Howard in games?  Just curious.  I think your comment is on point, that he seems like a great kid, and the reports on his defense are really favorable; but in the end, as with any player, how valuable he'll end up being will largely depend on the bat. 

Heh heh, as the Wilson example perhaps reflects.  If defense, attitude, effort, character, and work ethic were enough to make a good player, we'd have our center-field situation solved.  But hitting is the one tool you can't live without, and perhaps the hardest to project. 

Hopefully Howard really will have it, and the Cubs have some evaluation resources to be able to both project hitting capacity and to optimize hitting skills better now than has tended to be true in the past.   

chgojhawk

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 503
Re: Cubs Draft 2020
« Reply #175 on: June 26, 2020, 09:46:40 am »
Wilson was $1.3M.  To my recall, he's the only non-HS draftee who got the superslot million, at least since back in the Maples/Dunston era when spending was uncapped. 

Do you follow HS baseball in Chicago area enough to have seen Howard in games?  Just curious.  I think your comment is on point, that he seems like a great kid, and the reports on his defense are really favorable; but in the end, as with any player, how valuable he'll end up being will largely depend on the bat. 

Heh heh, as the Wilson example perhaps reflects.  If defense, attitude, effort, character, and work ethic were enough to make a good player, we'd have our center-field situation solved.  But hitting is the one tool you can't live without, and perhaps the hardest to project. 

Hopefully Howard really will have it, and the Cubs have some evaluation resources to be able to both project hitting capacity and to optimize hitting skills better now than has tended to be true in the past.

I haven't seen him play in HS, but he played against some kids I know (who happened to be average HS pitchers).  He was a combined 1-8 with a couple Ks against kids who aren't moving on.  One of them can't break 80 on a radar gun.

Truthfully I don't think hitting is that difficult to project.  I think it is like everything else other than health.  If a guy can hit you will know it early on.  Great athletes who don't hit are routinely selected early for their athleticism and expectation that they will become great hitters due to said athleticism.  Routinely they suck as hitters because hitting isn't necessarily about athleticism.  I don't care how "pretty" a swing may appear to be.  How does the ball come off the bat and how often does it come off the bat?  Give me the player who squares up baseballs without regard for athleticism (assuming he can be sufficient in the field or as a DH) and I will take that guy in the box over the athlete.
Informative Informative x 1 View List

CUBluejays

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 13792
Re: Cubs Draft 2020
« Reply #176 on: June 26, 2020, 10:53:08 am »
I've heard people speculate that hitters that are on the show circuit can have trouble with hitting off of sub par guys.  They send so much time getting geared up to to hit 90's with good breaking balls that junk is hard to hit.
Agree Agree x 1 View List

Playtwo

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7620
Re: Cubs Draft 2020
« Reply #177 on: June 26, 2020, 11:11:41 am »
Athleticism is an important asset for a SS, IMO.  If Howard is outstanding defensively, he can be successful without being more than average offensively.
Disagree Disagree x 1 View List

Deeg

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 13385
Re: Cubs Draft 2020
« Reply #178 on: June 26, 2020, 07:29:36 pm »
Athleticism is an important asset for a SS, IMO.  If Howard is outstanding defensively, he can be successful without being more than average offensively.

But that's not a guy you take in the middle of the first round.

Now - is that Howard?  I don't know.  I think he has enough offensive upside to be better than average, and more defensive athleticism relative to position than Almora in CF.  But drafting high schoolers is a crapshoot.

CUBluejays

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 13792
Re: Cubs Draft 2020
« Reply #179 on: June 26, 2020, 07:42:19 pm »
Almora’s problem his plate discipline and making too much contact on bad pitches.

Equating him to Howard without even having a senior year film on high seems risky.